It’s a week late, but the time has finally come to reveal my peacock-laden adventure. You thought I’d forgotten, did you? No such luck, my friends. Last week Trev and I took a trip about an hour outside of town (people here call Honolulu “town”) to the North Shore, the more rural part of Oahu. This area is mostly known for its huge winter waves and surfing competitions. It’s also the homeland of my friend Mariah, who was a huge help and an invaluable resource in planning our move. Trev and I were both pretty excited to explore someplace new and to see where Mariah grew up.
The drive to the North Shore is really beautiful. At the time, we were staying in a neighborhood of Honolulu called Kapahulu (we’ve since moved, more on that later). Kapahulu was a great landing spot for us to be in the middle of everything, but safely outside the craziness of Waikiki. I was used to being surrounded by homes and high rises, busy streets and noise. Trev and I had explored a good deal of the city and travelled to the windward (east) side of the island a few times, but we had never been west or north. About 15 minutes into the drive, we were leaving the city and houses thinned out significantly. Within half an hour we were surrounded by green fields.
The center of Oahu is bordered by two mountain ranges, The Ko’olau range and the Wai’anae range. The highway we took runs right between them. The Ko’olau range can been seen easily from Kapahulu and town. Since I’ve been here, cloud cover has been pretty much constant, even when the weather everywhere else is perfect. Some locals have told us the clouds will clear out later in the year, but for now it’s rainy season all the time in the area surrounding those ranges. As we left town and entered the area between the mountains, the clouds set in and it began raining. I kind of panicked because the top was off the Jeep, but as we crested the hill I could see clear skies ahead. Outside of the mountains, rain here feels like someone turned on a one of those mist fans they have at summer concerts. It rains real rain occasionally, but it’s usually over in about five minutes.
I still haven’t gotten used to that feeling, by the way. There are a couple places I’ve been that you can see the ocean in front of you and behind you as you crest a hill or turn a corner. It’s surreal and unbelievably beautiful. Most of the time it’s easy to forget you’re on an island, but that view is a pretty clear reminder that there’s only ocean in every direction.
After an hour of driving, we arrived in Haleiwa. It’s a cool little surf town in the northwest part of the island. During winter it’s a madhouse, but it wasn’t too crazy off-season. Think Cape Cod in winter, but warm year-round. We parked just past the iconic Haleiwa Rainbow Bridge and took a walk through the town center, which is lined with shops and restaurants. It’s mostly surf shops and island knickknacks, but it was fun to browse. We took a recommendation from Mariah and got lunch at Cholo’s Homestyle Mexican restaurant. It did not disappoint. I had been craving Mexican since we hit the island, so this place made my
As if that weren’t enough, they had unbelievable margaritas. I took another rec from Mariah and got the li hing margarita, for a hint of island flavor. Li hing mui is a tart powder that’s used all kinds of snacks here. Imagine powderized sweet tarts and that will give you a rough idea of its taste. Most importantly, it was delicious.
After lunch we indulged in a little dessert. Trev stopped at Scoop of Paradise for some ice cream (of course) and I stopped at Matsumoto’s Shave Ice for some of their famous shave ice. I’d also like to put a myth to bed here. Listen up all you Northerners because shave ice is not a snow cone (it’s also not “shaved ice”). This stuff is heavenly. It’s light, fluffy snow with intense, delicious flavoring. As you can probably guess from that description, it lived up to expectations.
Next we drove a bit of the North Shore over to Waimea Bay. PEACOCK ALERT because when we pulled into the parking lot at the Waimea Valley, there was peacock roaming the parking lot. Like a total rube, I didn’t know whether to be afraid or approach it with my hand out like a dog (which btw is the wrong way to greet a dog, too). Either way, I was fascinated. The peacock took care of my confusion for me because he/she ran right over to the car to check us out. We laughed hysterically at the situation and then acted like total tourists and took a bagillion pictures of it (obviously). We had gone to Waimea Valley to hike to Waimea Falls, but we got there too late in the day and the trail was closed. Instead, we walked through the botanical garden where there was another (!!!) peacock roaming the grounds and decided they apparently belonged there.
From there, we drove to Mariah’s hometown of Pupukea and stopped at “her” beach – Three Tables Beach. It was really beautiful up there. I made sure to send Mariah endless texts about exactly where we were and she indulged me graciously. The whole area reminded me so much of the time we spent in Kauai on our honeymoon. We watched the sun start to set at Three Tables and then made our way to Turtle Bay resort. Like a couple of creeps, we drove through the resort saying obnoxious things like “OMG That’s the reservation desk where Mila Kunis was working in Forgetting Sarah Marshall!”
From there, we took the long way home down the Kamehameha Highway. We made it all the way to Mokoli’i (Chinaman’s Hat) on the windward coast before the sun went down. The views were spectacular the entire way. It was a really fun day trip. I can’t wait to visit again and do all the things we missed (and eat more tacos). It’s been fun experiencing everything Oahu has to offer. There really is a bit of everything here – city, country, lush greenery, mountains, dersert, and volcanic craters.
Until our next adventure, happy Aloha Friday!